I used to have the longest, most voluptuous hair. But in preparation for my bushwacking, machete-wielding life in Africa I went over to the other extreme: I chopped off ALL my hair. All of it. I looked like a boy. Which was okay because I knew I wouldn’t have access to a hairstylist for a couple of years, so I wanted a hairstyle that was very low maintenance. For three years, I kept my hair short like this and I continued to chop away at it myself.
But now that I’m ready for a longer more feminine look, it’s as if my hair has forgotten how to grow! I’ve had the same shoulder-length hair for over a year now. And it’s a little frustrating because I feel like I’ve been trying to get somewhere but instead, I’ve just ended up running in place. Which is why I’ve been looking into hair care tips on how to make your hair grow longer faster.
So. How do you make your hair grow faster? Well, unfortunately, there doesn’t seem to be anything out there that can coerce your hair into growing faster. You can’t think it into growing faster, or sing to it or bribe it with money. And certainly, no miracle pill exists that will turn you into Rapunzel overnight.
The only key to having longer hair is patience. And eating a nutritious healthy diet. And oh yeah, more patience. I know that’s not exactly what you came here to hear. But if you want long hair, you are just going to have to wait it out.
However! (because there is always a however), if you want hair that is as long as it is beautiful, strong and lustrous, there are plenty of things you can do now to get started. After all, what’s the point of having long hair if it looks and feels like fried hay?
Maintaining healthy, shiny hair is actually easier than you think.
When it comes to achieving long, beautiful healthy hair, these are the tips that I’ve encountered time and time again:
1) Eat for your hair.
We already know the importance of eating healthy nutritious foods for beautiful skin. But healthy hair is another reason why diet matters. Just like with your skin, what you eat can help to nourish your hair. Since hair is not made up of living tissue, but rather dead, keratinized protein, what you put on your hair will not matter as much as the vitamins and nutrients that your hair follicles (the living tissue below your scalp) use in order to grow healthy hair.
For hair health, you must get enough vitamins A and C, which act as natural hair conditioners and shine boosters. Green vegetables like kale, swiss chard and spinach are good sources of vitamins A and C. Also, you may want to increase your intake of omega-3 fatty acids and protein. Chia or pumpkin seeds contain omega-3 fatty acids, as well as zinc and iron. Whole grains, egg yolks, liver, rice and milk contain biotin, a vitamin that produces keratin and prevents hair loss and hair graying.
If you are having a hard time getting in all your daily nutritional requirements, I would suggest taking a supplement that is specifically created for promoting healthy hair. Look for supplements that contain biotin, silica and l-cysteine. Be sure to talk to your doctor first before adding or increasing supplements in your diet. Personally, I’ve been taking biotin supplements for several months, and I can really notice an improvement in my hair and nail strength.
2) Use Shampoo and Conditioner Properly.
An important lesson to learn about hair care is that hair does not need to be washed and shampooed everyday. In fact, over washing can lead to dry, brittle hair. At the same time, improper use of conditioners can lead to the build up of waxy residue and dandruff.
Since shampoo can strip the natural oils from your hair, use shampoo only one or twice per week to clean your hair. Apply shampoo only to the crown of your head, then allow the suds to rinse through the rest of your hair. On days when you’re not using shampoo, you can simply rinse your hair with water and then use the pads of your fingers to give your scalp a good massage. Doing a massage with your fingers like this can help to loosen oil and prevent build-up.
When using conditioners, the focus should be to moisturize the hair itself and not the scalp. Hair products like conditioners can build-up on your scalp, so avoid putting conditioner on the scalp. This means, when you apply conditioner you should start from the bottom of your hair and then work your way up. For me, I like to use a leave-in conditioner (recently I’ve been using Klorane’s crème de jour au dattier du désert) which helps to hydrate and boost hair shine throughout the day.
So, when it comes to using shampoo and conditioner properly, the rule to remember is: shampoo the roots and condition the ends.
3) Be Gentle.
Your hair is fragile and does not recover from damage. Since hair is dead and cannot repair or renew itself, once your hair is damaged you can only wait until healthy new hair grows from the roots. Conditioners that contain silicones can help to temporarily improve the appearance of split ends, but this is not a permanent remedy as it will eventually wash off.
The point is, you really have to be gentle to your hair because it can be easily damaged. Avoid things like: the sun, salt, chlorine, heat or cold, chemical treatments, blow dryers, curling or straightening irons and as well as stress and poor diet. If you can’t avoid them, at least minimize your hair’s exposure to these things.
Some tips for safer heat-styling:
- Use a diffuser. This is a plastic nozzle that attaches to the end of your blow-dryer. Diffusers helps ensure that hot air is not intensely focused on any one section of your hair.
- Heat protection spray. Before you use a blow-dryer or heating iron, spray a heat protection formula while hair is still damp.
- Minimize the heat. Don’t follow the use of a blow dryer with a curling iron or straightening iron. Give your wet hair plenty of time to air dry, then use a heat styling tool. Another way to minimize heat is the 80/20 rule, where you use a blow-dryer until hair is about 80 percent dry and then letting the air take care of the rest.
Also, when washing your hair, avoid using really hot water. I have noticed that when I use hot water, my hair tends to be really dry and frizzy. Now that it’s wintertime, it will be especially challenging to avoid using hot water.
4) Trim Regularly.
Trimming your hair regularly will definitely NOT help to make your hair grow faster. Fact. (Read this mythbuster: Do regular trims really make hair grow faster?) However! If you want to have long hair without the splitting and fraying, getting regular trims is absolutely imperative. When hair ends split, the breakage can travel up the hair shaft. So you really have to stay on top of this breakage, otherwise, the time that you’ve spent growing your hair will only result in shabby, frazzled hair. To maintain healthy hair, visit your stylist regularly for a trim. Around every 8 weeks or so.
5) Massage Your Scalp.
Massaging your scalp has numerous benefits. As we’ve already mentioned, massaging your scalp with the pads of your fingers can help to loosen oil and prevent buildup. But also, scalp massages can increase blood flow and follicle size in order to grow thicker looking hair. You can do hot oil treatments at home, massaging warm olive, almond, coconut or jojoba oil into your scalp and leaving it in for at least 3o minutes. Also, the type of brush bristles that come in contact with your scalp also matters. Natural bristles are recommended over damaging metal and synthetic bristles, as they will prevent hair from splitting and breaking off while stimulating blood flow through your scalp.
I hope this was helpful! Do you have ideas or suggestions for maintaining healthy hair?
Do share them with us=)